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Cheshire East deficit over £140 million

 

£144 Million Deficit in Cheshire East Accounts

The final 2012/13 accounts of Cheshire East Council show a deficit of £144M in the year in Total Comprehensive Income and Expenditure. This is up from £124m in 2011/12. After excluding movements for pension and asset revaluations the underlying deficit has increased from £52M to £68M.

 

 

 

The auditor has again highlighted the low level of usable reserves of the council, noting that the Council is near the bottom of the group of comparable councils on this measure.

 

 

 

One reserve that has increased in the year is the General Fund which increased from £11.4M to £18.9M. In 2012 the Conservatives announced plans to increase General Reserves to £20.8M by the end of 2012/13 and then on up by the end of 2014/15 to £36.5m. Labour queried at the time the insanity of increasing reserves by so much at a time of austerity and suggested that the General Reserve should be maintained at £15M.

 

 

 

Council tax has been frozen for the last 3 years.

 

 

 

Labour Group Leader Cllr David Newton said,

 

“We all recognise the huge financial pressure being placed on councils by the unprecedented cuts in funding from central government. Cheshire East Council has not been squeezed as hard as many other councils, but even here we are beginning to see the effect on services and infrastructure. The inevitable cuts to services should be handled sensitively and wherever possible efficiency savings should be made before cuts to services.

 

Cheshire East Council has been using its reserves to soften the blow, but we can’t keep using reserves for much longer.”

 

 

 

Labour Group Finance Spokesman Cllr Sam Corcoran said

 

“The cumulative effect of council tax freezes over the last few years means that the income of the council is short of where it needs to be. I am pleased that my suggestion of removing council tax exemptions from empty properties has been adopted for 2013/14. The will raise an extra £2.5M a year for the Council and will also discourage landlords from leaving their properties empty.

 

 

I welcome the increase in General Fund to over £15M, but I would have preferred this to have been achieved by a planned budget process rather than by emergency cuts and unbudgeted remedial actions.”

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